Wilfried Zaha was considered one of the best talents in England but since joining Manchester United his career has stalled and he has to get it back on track quickly or he may never reach his full potential.
Already with two England caps to his name the winger still has a lot of time left to really make his mark both in the Premier League and on the international stage and will be hoping that his loan spell at Crystal Palace can convince Louis Van Gaal he is good enough for Manchester United. There is no doubting that he is talented but he has to work on his decision making and maybe this is why he hasn’t really had a chance at Old Trafford.
The 22 year old started his career at Selhurst Park and after joining Crystal Palace at the age of 12 he would go on to make his debut as a substitute on the 27th March 2010 against Cardiff City. Soon afterwards he was given his first professional contract by manager Paul Hart. After an impressive pre-season in the following campaign he quickly became an important member of the team and would score his first goal in a 3-2 win over Leicester City on the 7th August. He would not have as much luck against the same opposition later in the season as he was sent off, however it was later rescinded. Zaha ended his first season as a regular with 44 games, one goal and two assists.
During the 2011-12 season he would go onto grab mainstream attention with his performances after impressing in a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the League Cup on the 30th November and would later be voted the The Football League’s Young Player of the Year. Towards the end of the season he was used as more of a striker by manager Dougie Freedman and this led to him creating more chances and scoring more goals. Zaha was then voted Crystal Palace’s Young Player of the Year for a second time after nine goals and five assists in 48 games.
Once again he started the 2012-13 season brightly and he was being linked with moves away from the club and on the 25th January 2013 Zaha signed for Manchester United but was immediately loaned back to Palace to help them gain promotion. He would then go on to play a crucial part in the playoffs as he scored twice in the semi finals against Brighton and then won the penalty in the final against Watford which Kevin Phillips converted.
In the summer Zaha linked up with his Manchester United teammates unfortunately he did not get given much of an opportunity and was not in David Moyes’ plans. After just four appearances in all competitions he was loaned out to Cardiff on the 31st January 2014. The winger played 11 times for Cardiff but could not help them stay in the Premier League and returned to his parent club at the end of the season.
On the 28th August he rejoined Crystal Palace on a season long loan and two days later he would score a dramatic equaliser in a 3-3 draw with Newcastle United and his performances have been encouraging and it looks like he could get back to top form soon and prove his worth in the Premier League.
The final word can go to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “Wilf is a young player and it is the first time he is in the Premier League. He is just a boy who wants to play football and prove himself. He has talent and he will become a good player. He will have a very good career wherever he plays.”